I guess I'm not a higher power kind of guy, and it doesn't matter to me who or what that higher power is. As much as I respect whatever others believe when they scrupulously apply it to their own lives, I've been consistently creeped out over the years by those who insist I bow down to some all-powerful supernatural being they claim is watching over us (even on the crapper?) as well as by those who insist that I tug my forelock to the all-powerful state that's watching out for us (even on the crapper?). My natural reaction is to insist that people should keep their prurient higher powers to themselves. I've found the last two weeks … challenging.
As much as is made of the vast cultural divide that supposedly separates the Republicans in Tampa from the Democrats in Charlotte, I've seen little practical difference. Yes, the Republicans opened their convention with a Sikh-led prayer and closed with a blessing by a Catholic Cardinal and included a heavy sprinkling of the Mormon faith throughout. By contrast, the Democrats inserted a bit of God-bothering in their platform only clumsily and at President Obama's insistence. But that's understandable — they'd already invoked their higher power in the much-discussed video asserting, "the government is the only thing that we all belong to." That's a faith reasserted time and again in speeches that made the DNC sound, just a bit, like a public-benefits counseling session.
As I mentioned above, I wouldn't care one way or another about the beliefs of the speakers at these expensive demonstrations of political mutual-stroking if they were to confine themselves to living by the One True Faith on their own, while allowing those of us of differing views, or none at all, to happily marinate in the wages of our heresy. But there's no such luck, of course. The prevailing attitude in both major parties is that no good idea should go unlegislated.
As Republican nag Rick Santorum once scolded, "This idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do … that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues … that is not how traditional conservatives view the world."
On the other side of the political divide, professional finger-wagger Elizabeth Warren claimed us all on behalf of the state-led Borg when she said, "You built a factory out there? Good for you — but I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."
Come November, the two major parties may be offering us a sort-of choice. But no matter how the election falls out, we'll still be expected to submit to a higher power.